Web Error Lowers Iowa’s Actual Number of Coronavirus Cases
A state agency is working on fixing an error on Iowa's coronavirus website that lowers the number of confirmed cases in the state. The Cedar Rapids Gazette reports that the data error comes at a particularly bad time, downplaying the severity of the outbreak when many parents are deciding how and if to send their kids back to school.
The error on the website means that the Iowa Department of Public Health has inadvertently been reporting fewer new infections and a smaller percentage of daily positive tests than is actually happening. The Gazette reports that Dana Jones, a nurse practitioner from Iowa City, uncovered the issue. She stated that the problem is significant as many school districts rely on that same data to determine when school will resume.
How bad is the error? Potentially thousands of coronavirus from recent weeks and months have instead been recorded as happening in March, April, May, and June. The Gazette reports that an infectious disease expert says that the web data error is "one of the worst...that could be happening right now." The situation means that the pandemic and level of infection in Iowa is worse than people realize.
An Iowa Department of Public Health official confirmed the glitch in an email last Friday. However, the state has yet to publicly admit to the error. A spokesperson for the department of public health said they hope to have more information on the issue soon.